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Over 1,000 defence companies to participate in DefExpo

NEW DELHI (PTI):  Over 1,000 companies, including more than 100 global firms, are expected to participate in the 12th edition of the DefExpo in Gujarat next month, officials said on Wednesday.

They also said around 55 countries have already confirmed their participation at the mega event and the number is set to go up in the next couple of weeks in view of relaxations in the COVID-19-related travel norms.

Gandhinagar in Gujarat will host the DefExpo, India's mega defence exhibition, from March 10-13.

Though the exhibition will be thrown open on March 10, the DefExpo will formally be inaugurated the next day.

The DefExpo will be spread over an area of one lakh square metres and it will be the largest one since its inception in 1996, the officials said.

"Over 900 companies, including over 100 foreign firms, have confirmed their participation. We expect the number to go beyond 1,000," said an official, adding, "We expect around 250 MoUs to be firmed up at the four-day event."

The officials said a show comprising 1,000 drones built by an Indian start-up is being organised to light up the Gandhinagar sky.

A thousand small drones produced by the same start-up, Botlab Dynamics, were also displayed at the Beating Retreat ceremony in January.

The officials said the main idea behind the four-day event will be to showcase how India's policy intervention actually led to a success story in defence manufacturing.

Over 50 delegations to be led by either defence ministers or service chiefs are expected to attend the DefExpo 2022, they said.

They said leading venture capitalists are being invited to the DefExpo to explore investments in defence start-ups and related initiatives.

The officials said the second edition of the India-Africa Defence Dialogue will also be held during the mega event and 27 African nations have confirmed their participation at the dialogue so far.

They said the participation by the exhibitors from the United States is the largest from abroad so far, while the Adani and Tata groups are expected to have the largest displays at the exhibition among the Indian firms.

The government is expected to highlight measures at the event to transform India into a hub of military manufacturing.

It has initiated a series of measures in the last couple of years to encourage the domestic defence industry.

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